Rhode Island State House Resolution

May 10, 2018

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2018 – H 8185







Introduced By: Representatives Knight, Regunberg, Ackerman, Kazarian, and Morgan

Date Introduced: May 10, 2018

Referred To: House read and passed

WHEREAS, In 2016, the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island and the Armenian community spearheaded the drive to amend the Rhode Island General Laws in order to require more comprehensive and inclusive educational requirements on the subjects of Holocaust and Genocide; and

WHEREAS, Resultantly, House Bill 7488 SUB A and Senate Bill 2396 SUB A were passed by the General Assembly and subsequently signed into law by the Governor on June 17, 2016; and

WHEREAS, Rhode Island's law now requires the Rhode Island Board of Education to include instruction on the subjects of Holocaust and Genocide studies in an appropriate place in the curriculum, for all middle and high school students; and

WHEREAS, Rhode Island and Michigan were two of the first states to enact legislation mandating such education subsequently, New York, New Jersey, Florida, Illinois, California, Indiana, and Pennsylvania have passed laws requiring some form of Holocaust and Genocide Education, and Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Virginia and a dozen other states have committed to enacting similar legislation; and

WHEREAS, The Holocaust is defined as the destruction of six million European Jews by the Nazis and their collaborators between 1933 and 1945. Genocide is defined as "acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group" and "… a series of purposeful actions by a perpetrator(s) to destroy a collectivity through mass or selective murders of group members and suppressing the biological and social reproduction of the collectivity"; and

WHEREAS, Holocaust and Genocide Education seeks to enhance education, cultural production, and public memory about the incidence of these atrocities – in the distant and not-so5 distant past. Educators must embrace the teaching and study of the topic and students must be motivated to employ critical thinking skills; and

WHEREAS, Holocaust and Genocide Education has additional prevalence in that it demonstrates what can happen when bullying, hate speech, and other forms of intimidation, often faced by today's students, are allowed to escalate into stereotyping, prejudice, racism, and worse; and

WHEREAS, It is essential to our state and our nation that we educate our youth about the millions of men, women and children who have and continue to be slaughtered and ostracized simply because of their beliefs and their heritage, or their strengths or their frailties, and we must firmly avow that the atrocities of the Holocaust and Genocide will never be repeated; now, therefore be it

RESOLVED, That this House of Representatives of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations hereby strongly supports Holocaust and Genocide Education in Rhode Island's schools, reaffirms our pledge to work to eradicate bigotry, prejudice, brutality and injustice, and urges Rhode Island educators and students to learn about and learn from these atrocities so they may never blight our world again; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and hereby is authorized and directed to transmit duly certified copies of this resolution to the Commissioner of the Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Rhode Island Holocaust Museum, the Jewish Federation of Rhode Island, the Jewish Community Center of Rhode Island, the Armenian Assembly of America in Washington, and the Armenian National Committee in Washington.